It is important to begin by saying, this won't be your standard tick-prevention article. We have many of those if that is what you're looking for. What we're going to focus on today is what makes a tick dangerous, and how dangerous ticks usually get into a home. Here's what you need to know.
Ticks Aren't Born With Diseases
This might come as a revelation, but ticks don't begin life with the ability to make you sick. They acquire microorganisms as they develop. Where do they get these harmful, invisible organisms? Wildlife. This is important to understand because it can give valuable insight into which ticks present the most threat to you.
Eggs — In this stage, ticks can't harm you, they are free of disease.
Seed Ticks — Newly hatched ticks are called seed ticks. These are six-legged tick larvae. If a seed tick has not had a blood meal, it is free of disease. Keep this in mind when you find dozens (or more) Lone Star seed ticks on yourself or someone you love. While it is certainly disturbing to see so many ticks attached, they aren't likely to make you sick because you're probably their first meal.
Nymphs — when seed ticks mature into nymphs, they drop off of their first host and seek another. If they contracted microorganisms from the first host, you are at risk of disease. You should also be concerned about nymphs because they are looking for larger animals and may choose to bite humans, even if they are not predisposed to biting humans.
Adults — An adult tick has had lots of opportunities to become a carrier of diseases. Fortunately, adults are larger than seed ticks and nymphs. When they become engorged with your blood, you're likely to notice them. Early detection and early removal can prevent illness. As an example, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can take as long as 48 hours to transfer from an infected tick in a large enough quantity to be a concern.
What Spreads What?
Using the facts above, let's take a look at how ticks get into your home, and what the level of threat might be.
Rodents — If mice or rats bring ticks into your home, they may have been the only animal those ticks were exposed to, but rodents have a high incidence of disease. Once inside your home, seed ticks will develop into nymphs and fall off in search of a larger host.
Pets — If seed ticks come into your home on your pets, there is a lower risk of disease because your pets are far less likely to have harmful microorganisms. The risk of disease is also lower for adult ticks that are found on canines because brown dog ticks and American dog ticks prefer to feed on domesticated canines and may never be exposed to a wild animal.
Humans — If you, your kids, or another human brings ticks into your home, the risk of disease is connected to the type of tick and the stage of its development. As we pointed out above, seed ticks are a low risk. Nymphs and adult ticks are an increased risk, with tick species that do not target canines being more of a risk, such as black-legged ticks, which carry Lyme disease.
How To Keep Dangerous Ticks Out
The greatest threat is rodent infestations. If you have a mouse or rat infestation, you should be aware of the health risk those animals present, particularly as it relates to ticks, fleas, mites, and other parasites. If you do not have an infestation, take measures to seal entry points, reduce attractants, and prevent rodents from getting in.
The best way to keep ticks from getting on you or your pets, and preventing them from getting into your home, is to invest in mosquito and tick control service for your Hartford County home. This is where we can help. American Pest Solutions offers seasonal treatments with our Mosquito Guard program. Don't let the name fool you, this program is effective against ticks as well. If you have questions, or you'd like to set up service, reach out to us today. We look forward to assisting you with this essential protection.